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Cracking Down on Polluters

A growing number of countries are tightening environmental protection rules. 

China is to make environmental liability (EL) insurance compulsory for heavy polluting industries, including multinational organisations operating in China. 

It follows guidelines introduced in 2007 by the Ministry of Environmental Protection and the China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) that tried to encourage the take-up of EL cover. There was limited success with only 2,000 enterprises taking out the insurance. 

Now they have issued new rules making EL insurance compulsory for certain industries, including those with high pollution risks. The government has placed particular emphasis on encouraging enterprises involving petrochemicals, hazardous chemicals, hazardous waste operations and dioxin emissions to buy the cover. 

Pollution backlash in emerging markets 

China has had a high rate of pollution accidents in recent years, including the 2007 algae bloom in Tai Lake, Chao Lake and Dianchi Lake; the 2009 cadmium pollution accident in Liuyang City, the 2010 oil pipeline explosion in Dalian City and the recent air pollution problem in Beijing and its suburbs. In all these events the government has been responsible for the clean-up costs. 

When pollution levels soared to record heights in Beijing in January 2013 there was angry commentary in the Chinese press and on social media websites, including calls to reduce the number of vehicles on the city’s roads. 

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